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  • SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 Update 2-27-2020

    Posted by Trent Telenko on February 27th, 2020 (All posts by )

    The themes of this update will be on issues of COVID-19 spread, World Headlines, The Trump news conference on community spreading in the USA, pandemic preparedness in the USA past & Present and a COVID-19 social media and video news tracking section.

    Top line, There are currently  82,586 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, including 2,811 fatalities as of the 27 February 2020 at 6:40 a.m. ET hack on the BNO News corona virus traking site (https://bnonews.com/index.php/2020/02/the-latest-
    coronavirus-cases/) There are now 40(+) nations including China plus three “Chinese special administrative regions” (Macao, Hong Kong and Taiwan) that have reported COVID-19 infections.

    In a first for the Pandemic, COVID-19 infections outside China outnumber those reported inside China, See:

    New Coronavirus Cases Outside China Overtake Inside for First Time
    The first cases of coronavirus cropped up in several countries, including Norway, Greece and North Macedonia.
    By Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder, Staff Writer Feb. 26, 2020, at 4:33 p.m.
    https://www.usnews.com/news/world-report/articles/2020-02-26/new-coronavirus-cases-outside-china-overtake-inside-for-first-time

    World Headline Summary:

    o South Korea reports 334 new cases, bringing the total number in the country to 1,595
    o South Korea, US postpone joint military drills due to coronavirus
    o The US State Department has issued a level 3 travel advisory urging people to reconsider going to South Korea
    o CDC confirms first case of ‘unknown origin’ in US [See below]
    o CDC reports 6 new cases among repatriated Americans
    o WaPo reports Northern California has 16th US case, says it’s first of “unknown origin” and risks local spread [See below]
    o 83 being monitored in Nassau County
    o Orange County declares state of emergency
    o Norway has confirmed its first case
    o 8 quarantined in Westchester
    o HHS confirms 15th US case
    o Iran deaths hit 19
    o Brazil confirms first case in South America
    o France confirms 2nd death
    o Japan’s Prime Minister is requesting that all elementary schools, junior high & high schools nationwide close starting next Monday until spring break
    o Greece confirms first case
    o Germany unleashes fiscal stimulus after confirming new cases
    o Dems one-up Trump with $8.5 billion package compared to $2.5 billion.
    o Kuwait, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain confirm new cases
    o Finland confirms 2nd case
    o 1st 2 cases reported in Pakistan
    o HHS Secretary tells Congress infectious disease fund has no extra uncommitted cash
    o Congress begins talks on corona virus spending bill with vote expected early next month
    o Germany health minister warns we’re at beginning of epidemic in Germany; 5 new cases
    o Italy confirms 12th death, cases soar above 400
    o North Macedonia confirms first case
    o South Korea cases soar above 1,200 as gov’t begins testing of 200k patients
    o Brazil confirms infected patient came on plane from Paris
    o Ericsson confirms one of its employees in Croatia tested positive

    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 26 Comments »

    Co-Vid 19 and Supply Chain

    Posted by Dan from Madison on February 26th, 2020 (All posts by )

    As I mentioned on these pages a few days ago, there will be supply chain issues with the Co-Vid 19 event, whether you think it is the next Black Plague, or just another version of the flu (from reading the comments on Trent’s post on the subject, we appear to have both reading here). As a reminder, I deal in HVAC distribution, which is a subset of industrial distribution. Most equipment for my market is made close to the USA or in the USA itself, but the component parts are many times made in China.

    Today I got the first letter from a vendor talking about the possible issues. They are saying that they are preparing to see product shortages due to component supply problems and are actively trying to source from other places, but the information is very general in nature. It seemed more CYA than anything and almost could be a force majeure setup, recommended by their attorneys to get ahead of contracted jobs. I have no proof of that but have seen enough legal documents in my day to know that a lawyer or ten helped write their CoVid-19 letter rather than a bunch of HVAC dorks like me.

    But let’s be real for a minute. The supply chain (in my industry) is long so we aren’t likely to see any problems for the Summer, as most of those orders for inventory are already in the tank and on their way to our warehouses. Fall/Winter is my estimate for issues in industrial distribution if the problem continues. And that could be a BIG problem for you if you have a house where a furnace breaks down and it is -20 outside. Critical infrastructure will get priority I am assuming (blood banks, etc) but you don’t know when that stuff will break, do you?

    As I receive more communications from my vendors I will put up an occasional post here. I have a meeting next week in DC and will personally speak with many of my vendor contacts and may get more/better information at the cocktail parties when my contacts get loosened up from the booze. It’s going to be an interesting year in industrial distribution and I imagine that the Chinese are going to lose some business over this when it is all said and done, never to come back (the main reason I don’t think this whole episode is fiction/blown out of proportion – incentives).

     

    Posted in Business, China | 11 Comments »

    SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 Evening Update 2-25-2020: The Pandemic Hide the Name & Blame Games

    Posted by Trent Telenko on February 25th, 2020 (All posts by )

    The themes of this update will be on issues of COVID-19 spread, World Headlines, border closings, the CDC news conference, developments with fomite spread, how American Public Health institutions build a liablity law suit proof diagnostic test and how that limits tests for community spread and a new recommended COVID-19 sites, social media and videos section.
     
    Top line, There are currently 80,420 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, including 2,710 fatalities as of the 24 February 2020 at 5:24 p.m. ET time hack on the BNO News corona virus tracking site (https://bnonews.com/index.php/2020/02/the-latest-coronavirus-cases/) There are 39 nations including China plus three “Chinese special administrative regions” (Macao, Hong Kong and Taiwan) that have reported COVID-19 infections. China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, Iran and R.O.K. all appear to have local, or endemic, spread of the disease. Italy has spawned further spread in Spain proper, it’s Canary Islands possession, Austria, Germany, and possibly Croatia. And now Brazil in South America and Algeria reporting a case signals North West Africa have added two new regions to the Pandemic spread list. The virus has spread from Asia to Europe, North America, Australia and Africa.
     
    All of the above meets the pre-COVID-19 WHO standard for a “Pandemic” that requiring endemic spread in multiple nations in multiple WHO regions. However, the WHO just decided that it was time to retire the term “Pandemic” because…something…[insert reasons here]. The WHO statement for doing so was a master piece of unintelligible double talk that boils down to “Lets not scare the “Normies” and set off more “Run, Hide & Hoard” panics like seized Italy, ROK and Singapore in the last few days. Meanwhile the WHO is cheering-on China’s “Hospice-Prison system for the infected” Quarantine as a “Model” in aiding China’s restarting the World economy.
    ITALY COVID-19 Confirmed Cases and Deaths 25 Feb 2020

    ITALY COVID-19 Confirmed Cases and Deaths 25 Feb 2020

     
    World Headline Summary
    o WHO warns the rest of the world “is not ready for the virus to spread…”
    o CDC warns Americans “should prepare for possible community spread” of virus.
    o San Francisco Mayor declares state of emergency
    o Later, CDC says pandemic not a question of it, but when
    o Brazil may have South America’s first coronavirus case
    o Germany confirms 2nd case on Tuesday, brings total to 17
    o Italy cases spike to 322; deaths hit 10
    o Japan’s Shiseido tells 8k employees to work from home
    o Trump Economic Advisor Kudlow tries to jawbone stock markets higher
    o HHS Sec. Azar warns US lacks stockpiles of masks
    o Italy Hotel in Lockdown After First Coronavirus Case in Liguria
    o Algeria confirms 1st case
    o First case in Switzerland
    o Kuwait halts all flights to Singapore and Japan
    o Iran confirms 95 cases, 15 deaths
    o First case in Austria
    o Spain reports 7 cases in under 24 hours, including in Madrid, Canary Islands, Barcelona
    o Iran Deputy Health Minister infected with Covid-19
    Pandemic Border Closures
    Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Armenia, and UAE blocked border crossings by Iranians.
    Russia, North Korea and Vietnam are blocking border crossings from China
    Austria and Switzerlan are blocking border crossings from Italy.
    El Salvador on Tuesday announced it would prevent entry of people from Italy and South Korea.
     

    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Big Government, Bioethics, China, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Current Events, Economics & Finance, Health Care, Iran, Medicine, Middle East, Miscellaneous, National Security, North America, Politics, USA | 28 Comments »

    SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 Evening Update 2/24/2020 — Public Health Institution Credibility Collapse Proceeds A-Pace

    Posted by Trent Telenko on February 24th, 2020 (All posts by )

    The themes of this update will be on issues of COVID-19 spread, public health institutional messaging credibility, and my personal analysis of same, and finally China’s honking of Pres Trump after the top line infection numbers and headlines.
     
    Top line, There are currently 79,774 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, including 2,628 fatalities as of the 24 February 2020 at 5:24 p.m. ET time hack on the BNO News corona virus traking site (https://bnonews.com/index.php/2020/02/the-latest-
    coronavirus-cases/) China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, Iran and R.O.K. all appear to have local, or endemic, spread of the disease. Italy, ROK and probably Iran have exponential growth in progress. Singapore has it’s infections seemingly under control. The Chinese reported numbers indicate increasing control…but few believe them. The USA reports a large increase in COVID-19 cases and a pathetic number of COVID-19 tests being conducted.
     
    South Korea COVID-19 Infection Chart

    South Korea COVID-19 Infection Chart

    World Summary Headlines:
     
    o Stocks slide as CDC releases new US case numbers [More later]
    o Italy reports 7th death, 200+ confirmed cases [More later]
    o Spain reports 3rd case
    o WHO says outbreak not yet a ‘pandemic’ [More later]
    o WH reportedly considering expulsion of Chinese journalists in retaliation for WSJ reporters
    o US consulate in Milan temporarily halts visas
    o California has 8,000 under ‘self-imposed quarantine’
    o CDC warns Americans against travel to South Korea [no S–t!]
    o Italian finance minister suspends tax payments in virus-hit areas
    o First cases reported in Oman, Bahrain
    o WHO kowtows to China in statement [more later]
    o Wuhan issues order to loosen lockdown, then U-turns
    o NHC says outbreak is fading, though situation remains “grim”
    o 2 new cases confirmed in Canada
    o China approves crackdown on wildlife trade after WHO says virus likely came from bats
    o Iranian lawmaker says more than 50 deaths in Qom; officials say 12
    o Hong Kong bars South Koreans [But allows Mainland Chinese in?!?]
    o More cases reported in SK
     

    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 32 Comments »

    Andrew Yang and Automation

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on February 23rd, 2020 (All posts by )

    Rome fell in 476 AD, according to the high school and World History 101 shorthand we are used to. You can prefer a date in the 370’s instead, or 410, or the Vandals taking Carthage in 439 AD, which broke the tax spine of the Western Empire for good.  Going in the other direction, you can choose the collapse of the reconquest by Justinian in the late 6th C, or even later.  If one wants to be really technical, Constantinople, the Eastern capital of the Roman Empire for a thousand years after Rome itself fell to Ostrogoths, did not fall until 1453. Few would pick that date, but you could, and make an argument with at least some facts to buttress it.

    But let’s focus on 476 and let that hover in the background as we look at the collapse.  In 440AD all looked bleak for the empire, though those in the central cities did not perceive it.  Britain and Northern Gaul had fallen out of the empire. Northern Africa was a trading partner, not part of the empire. The influence over Persia, Syria, and the easternmost sections of empire was waning. Yet by 450, trading was bustling again.  Some researchers would claim that this was actually the height of trade throughout the Mediterranean, unmatched for more than a thousand years. There was recovery! Despite all the dark portents, Rome reached its height.  Arguably.  Some would pick 150, 350, or other dates. Still, a case could be made.

    If you were living at the time, those naysayers who pointed to the loss of tax revenue from across the Mediterranean, or the growing power of the Goths, who had an internal kingdom in Gaul, or the slow loss of border provinces and increase in cross-border raiding would be laughed off.  However plausible their arguments might sound that the empire was in decline, the objective evidence was that things were fine.

    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 25 Comments »

    COVID-19/SARS-CoV2 Update 2-23-2020 — When the “New Versailles Class” Meets Reality Without Privilege

    Posted by Trent Telenko on February 23rd, 2020 (All posts by )

    The themes of this update will be on issues of COVID-19 spread, testing, public health institutional credibility, some e-mails evaluating the CDC and our elites, and my personal analysis of same after the top line infection numbers and headlines.

    The SARS-CoV2 virus and it’s COVID-19 virgin fields infection seems to have a top line R(0) of between three and 6.7 — that is one person infects near seven people on average — because there are repeated “super spreader” events where one person slimed an institution with a lot of close contact and then the fomite contamination of that institutional setting causes everyone present to get the disease. Examples thus far include the Diamond Princess Cruise ship, a pair of prisons in China, and multiple hospitals in China and now South Korea. The rate of growth of the COVID-19 pandemic is such that we will be fighting it on a very large scale in a few weeks (no more than 10) in every nation world wide with the public and private medical institutions, societal resources, and people we have right now, with all their flaws. And not what we wish they were, but will never have. There simply isn’t going to be time and energy for blame games when issues of daily survival break upon us all.

    Top line, there are currently 78,986 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, including 2,468 fatalities as of 23 February 2020 at 11:52 a.m. ET on the BNO News corona virus traking site (https://bnonews.com/index.php/2020/02/the-latest-coronavirus-cases/) China, Taiwan Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, and Iran all appear to have local, or endemic, spread of the disease. See multiple charts attached and headline summary

    Bar Chart of World COVID-19 Infections as of 23 Feb 2020

    Bar Chart of World COVID-19 Infections as of 23 Feb 2020

    Bar Chart of World Qide COVID-19 Infections Without China and the Diamond Princess Cruise Liner

    Bar Chart of World Wide COVID-19 Infections Without China and the Diamond Princess Cruise Liner

    World Headline Summary:

    o Italy confirms 3rd death and cancels last 2 days of carnivale in Venice as cases soar above 100
    o 4 more cases confirmed in UK
    o 200 Israelis quarantined
    o Japan confirms more cases
    o Japanese Emperor expresses hope for Tokyo Games (fat chance)
    o ROK Gov’t total cases above 600
    o Trump says US has everything ‘under control’ as he asks Congress for more money (I call B.S. below)
    o EU’s Gentiloni says he has ‘full confidence’ In Italian health officials
    o Turkey, Pakistan close borders with Iran as confirmed cases soar
    o Global Times (Chinese Gov’t news source) says virus may not have originated at Hunan seafood market
    o Axios reports shortages of 150 essential drugs likely. (Most source in China)

    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Big Government, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Current Events, Health Care, Iran, Medicine, Middle East, Miscellaneous, National Security, Uncategorized, USA | 42 Comments »

    Flashy Himself – A Literary Diversion

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on February 22nd, 2020 (All posts by )

    So it took a link on Powerline last week to bring to my attention that George McDonald Fraser’s first Flashman book came out fifty years ago.

    My, I don’t know how the time flies – but it does. I must have read the first couple of Flashy’s adventures sometime in college, shortly thereafter, and being quite the history nerd even then, they were rowdy enough, and amusing enough that I read most of the rest of them when they came out, even if I had to order them from an English book catalog when I was stationed overseas. I do remember very well reading The General Danced at Dawn, in the back of one of my more boring lecture classes at CSUN and nearly self-strangulating in trying to not laugh uproariously out loud. The professor lecturer would not have been amused – he was a medieval history expert with a thoroughly tedious interest in the most comprehensively boring of early dark age church confabulations and absent any detectable sense of humor.

    My main regret as far as the Flashman series goes is that GMF never wrote of Flashy’s adventures in our own Civil War, which sounded from references in other books, as if Flashman conducted himself in the manner which we came to expect of him – that is, purely and basely devoted to the preservation of his own skin, while dodging, lying, fornicating and back-stabbing on battlefields spread across three continents, as well as hob-nobbing socially or sexually with all sorts of likely participants. As one early reviewer put it, Flashy saw 19th century history briefly over his shoulder as he fled down the corridors of power at high speed. His adventures in our very own Civil War would have been … interesting, although when I touched on this matter before, a reader pointed out that a) Flashy was a British officer and hardly gave a toss as to what we recalcitrant ex-Colonials got up to, and that b) that all our native ACW experts, amateur and professional alike would have made passionate objection to any error or omission, fancied or with historical backing that GMF might have worked into the plot. So, the effort wouldn’t have been worth the candle to him … although I and most of his fans would have loved to read it anyway. Just to see the process by how Flashy got suckered into participation by Abraham Lincoln, fought on both sides, and wound up being pals with George Armstrong Custer and well-acquainted with General Grant, and how many other Civil War notables.

    I myself would have loved to see Flashy entangled in some kind of partnership with Elizabeth Van Lew, the Richmond spy queen, or perhaps a much deeper entanglement with Allan Pinkerton, of the national detective agency … it all would have been great reading, no matter how contentious the fallout might have been with Civil War historians. His take on Robert E. Lee and other Confederate generals would have been interesting, as well. Because GMF had the eye, an absolute gift for writing 19th century dialog, and loved history enough to go into the deep weeds about it all … and most of all, make it interesting to the reader. Pop media is not downhill from culture, it’s in a symbiotic relationship with it. One shapes the other, mutually.
    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Arts & Letters, Book Notes, Culture, Diversions, History, Humor, Media, War and Peace | 21 Comments »

    Wages, Employment, and Productivity

    Posted by David Foster on February 21st, 2020 (All posts by )

    I think President Trump is quite sincere about his oft-stated desire to drive up the wages of low-income workers…especially young and non-college workers…and he does seem to be having some success at this quest.  It has struck me for a while that while this is a very good thing from the standpoint of the overall society, it is also likely to pressure business profit margins, with possible consequences for the stock market as well as for Fed policy.

    Yesterday the WSJ noted that “wages for 20- to 24-year olds are increasing twice as fast as for other workers…Overall job satisfaction in 2018 was the highest since 1994.”  At the same time, “90% of blue-collar businesses report operating with unfilled positions, and 29% say this has made them reduce output or turn down business.  Rising wages together with sluggish productivity growth are crimping corporate profits.  Between the fourth quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2019, profits for nonfinancial corporations  declined 17% and 46% for manufacturers.   The article quotes the Conference Board:  “The US will not be able to maintain its current standard of living unless the US government acts to significantly increase immigration, improve labor force participation, and, together with employees, raise labor productivity growth.”  To which the WSJ writer adds:  “Maybe the only short-term fix is to increase legal immigration–unless Americans want to see their living standards decline and more jobs exported.”

    Higher wages do of course drive productivity improvement…the US has been a pioneer in the mechanization of work in large part because it has been a high-wage country, and that mechanization has helped to enable further wage increases.  This doesn’t always require any new inventions:  there are always productivity tools available that will make sense to a business that is paying $25/hour for labor but would not make sense to one paying $15/hour.  The process isn’t instantaneous, though.

    Concerning immigration as a solution to labor shortages: commentators sometimes lose sight of the fact that GDP per capita matters for broad-based prosperity, not just absolute GDP.  And the only way to increase GDP per capita is through productivity improvements and higher labor force participation rates.  Increasing the raw number of workers doesn’t do this.

    The Conference Board statement appears to put a lot of emphasis on things that the government should do, and the WSJ emphasizes more (legal) immigration.  Some increases in legal immigration may well be a good idea…as would increases in American fertility rates…but the main issues, I think, are productivity and the labor force participation rate.  The actual productivity numbers don’t reflect all the talk about (and even the realities of) robotics and AI.  Maybe this is largely just a matter of implementation lags, maybe it reflects increasing bureaucratization and ‘compliance’ costs throughout our economy.

    My concern is that margin pressure may lead (in conjunction with other factors, like already-high valuations) to a sharp stock-market decline, which could have electoral implications.  Such decline might also lead to many deferrals of productivity-improving investments.  Alternatively, Fed concerns about rising wage rates as a possible signal of incipient inflation could lead the central bank to increase interest rates excessively as a preventative.

    And any electoral result which substantially increases Democratic party power could lead to massive upsurges in legal and illegal immigration, with consequent wage pressures, demoralizing many workers who are now on an positive track and deferring the need for productivity investments.  Any attempt to deal with such wage pressures by establishing high Federal-level minimum wages would add much rigidity to the systems, creating problems of many kinds.

    Discuss, if you feel so inclined.

     

    Posted in Business, Economics & Finance, Elections, Tech, Trump, USA | 21 Comments »

    COVID-19 Update, Morning 2-21-2020 — Living & Dying from China’s Biological Chernobyl

    Posted by Trent Telenko on February 21st, 2020 (All posts by )

    Wednesday the world got the worst possible news about COVID-19 from China, and it explained all the strange things China was hiding since this disease first appeared. We are in the midst of China’ Biological Chernobyl. But first, the numbers. As of 20 February 2020 at 7:04 p.m. ET there were 76,192 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, including 2,245 fatalities. China 74,988 cases, 2,234 fatalities and International 1,205 cases, 11 fatalities.  See the latest disease numbers here:

    https://bnonews.com/index.php/2020/02/the-latest-coronavirus-cases/

    A quiet Chinese announcement Wednesday has changed the world.
    It appears that COVID-19 is an airborne bug in some very common medical situations.  This was why China was keeping the CDC and WHO experts out of China.  It is also why they had such heavy casualties with medical workers.  You need a PPE-4 level independent oxygen supply to entubate a COVID-19 pneumonia sufferer.
    “Airborne transmission” has a very specific medical-technical definition.  See the figure below.
    This graphic explains the technical definition of airborne transmission.

    This graphic explains the technical definition of airborne transmission. (Peak Prosperity video screen capture)

    See this, the opening sentence of which is the technical description of “Airborne Transmission” —
    China admits aerosol infection possible in coronavirus outbreak

    KYODO NEWS – Feb 20, 2020 – 13:14

    .
    KYODO NEWS – Feb 20, 2020 – 13:14 | WorldAll

    China’s health authorities have admitted that people may contract the pneumonia-causing COVID-19 coronavirus by inhaling small virus-containing particles floating in the air, or so-called aerosol infection.

    .

    Updated diagnostic and treatment guidelines published Wednesday say a person can be infected if they are “exposed to a high concentration of aerosol in a relatively closed environment for a long time.

    .

    This is the sixth edition of the guidelines for treating patients of the new virus in China. The guidelines posit that the main routes of transmission are “droplets from the respiratory system” and “close contact.”

    .

    Previous versions of the guidelines said the possibility of aerosol infection had yet to be clearly established.

    .

    Aerosol infection is said to be prone to occur during medical procedures, such as when inserting a tube into the windpipe to ensure an open airway.

    And airborne transmission beyond the narrow medical procedures have been confirmed in South Korea. ROK public health officials tracked a single asymptomatic church lady to a Christian mega-church service of a 1,000 people.  Below is the result:

    Steve Lookner
    @lookner
    544 members of South Korea’s Shinchonji Daegu church have virus symptoms(This is the church with dozens of new cases in the past 2 days)https://twitter.com/lookner/status/1230698482207313920
    China also announced a prison had 200 prisoners and seven guards get COVID-19 last night. Essentially any institutional situation with poor/unfiltered circulation will see mass COVID-19 infection.
    And it gets worse.  How much worse?  This much worse:
    The Fight Plan of China's Biological Chernobyl

    The Fight Plan of China’s Biological Chernobyl — 60,000 airline flights with poor air circulation where up to 12 million souls (assuming 200 unique people per plane flight) were exposed to an airborne transmitted SARS-CoV2 virus.

    WELCOME TO THE WORSE CASE SCENARIO

    The heart of the issue for 2019-nCoV is that it is a virgin fields epidemic. Everyone who hasn’t got it, will get it, absent a genetic gift or  vaccine…and there will be no vaccine for a year, assuming this coronavirus is amenable to a vaccine.

    This is compounded by the issue that the COVID-19 coronavirus infection takes a very low SARS-Cov2 viral load for the initial infection…

    …and that low viral load initial infection takes a very, very, very, long time to manifest as either positive test result or as
    “symptoms.”

    Additionally, four of five people that test positive for COVID-19 have either no or very minor symptoms while being infection spreaders.
    Case in point is the South Korean church-lady who seems to have given COVID-19 infections to 544 people either by giving out communion or singing.

    The infection rate right now is over 20% for the souls aboard Diamond Princess and it will take at least 24 days from their last
    exposure to be detectable in new cases.  The chaos and ineffectivness of the Japanese quarantine was such that every passenger, crewman or Japanese health ministry body on the Diamond Princess were likely exposed to infection causing viral loads right up to and through the flights back to their home countries.

    There is now no chance stopping COVID-19, short of a vaccine, because China’s Communist Party allowed those 12 million exposed souls to travel the world.

    COVID-19 is not just a flu.  It is 20 times deadlier (2% death rate) with an intact medical system and 50 time deadlier (5% death rate) in a collapsed medical system.  And every medical system in the world will collapse under the weight of SARS-CoV2 infections.

    Buckle up.  This will be a rough ride.

    -End-

     

    Posted in Big Government, Civil Society, Current Events, Health Care, Miscellaneous | 26 Comments »

    COVID-19 Update, Morning 2-20-2020

    Posted by Trent Telenko on February 20th, 2020 (All posts by )

    There are currently 75,772 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, including 2,129 fatalities as of this morning’s time hack. China has changed how they are reporting new cases yet again (two times they admit too) again, so numbers will decrease there. Worldwide less China, there are 1150 infected, with 10 deaths (1 Taiwan, 1 Japan, 1 Philippines, 2 Diamond Princes, 2 Hong Kong, 1 France, 2 Iran). There are both some number crunching and recent coronavirus developments in this update.

    First, the number crunching:

    Current death to recovery ratio outside Mainland China are:

    Deaths 10
    Recovered 176

    10/(176+8)= 5.38% death rate.

    The number of cases above are not large enough yet to draw statistical inferences for medical care outside Mainland China…yet

    Inside Mainland China’s state of Hubei, where the medical system has been overwhelmed, things got a lot worse.

    Deaths 2,029
    Recovered 10,388

    2029/(2029+10388) = 16.3% death rate (assuming you accept the numbers from CCP)

    As long as high quality medical care is available to those who require intensive care, mortality rates should go down as more is known about successful COVID-19 treatment. Anywhere the system is overwhelmed, as happened is in Wuhan, it will be horrid.

     

     

    COVID-19 Disease Spread Graph

    COVID-19 Disease Spread Graph

    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 25 Comments »

    COVID-19 Update, Morning 2-19-2020

    Posted by Trent Telenko on February 19th, 2020 (All posts by )

    This update is going to be a horror show of numbers involving “super spreaders” and public health incompetence in and around the Diamond Princess cruise ship. As of this mornings’s writing time hack, there are currently 75,129 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, including 2,007 fatalities. China: TOTAL 74,130 2,002 12,017 serious 13,818 recovered 6,242 suspected. (No one believed these numbers except the Who and CDC) Everywhere else: 999 cases, 5 deaths, 39 serious/critical

    Next — the COVID-19 infection numbers from the Diamond Princess are horrific.

    See:

    Tracking coronavirus: Map, data and timeline

    “Japan: The 542 people from the “Diamond Princess” cruise ship are listed separately and they are not included in the Japanese government’s official count. Fourteen of them are Americans whose test results came in while they were being evacuated from the ship. 246 were _asymptomatic_.”

    Given 246 of 542 infected are asymptomatic…we are looking at a 45% of no-symptom super-spreader rate.

    Note: the following additional “Diamond Princess” information culled from four US newspapers over at the Free Republic forum’s “Corona Virus Live—mostly Thread. 2/18-2/19”

    https://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/3817559/posts?q=1&;page=151

    In one flight of the Diamond Princess returnees. “…the original 14 tested have become 19 due to inflight testing, or 18 pending and 1 CDC confirmed.

    .

    The flight to Travis, CA had 7, and picked up 3 inflight – all asymptomatic

    .

    The Flight to Lackland, TX had 7, and picked up 2 inflight – all but one asymptomatic

    .

    So that’s 14+3+2

    .

    It was reported that Texas sent 6 to Omaha; however Omaha said they received 13. One requiring hospitalization but stable, and the rest asymptomatic. All are awaiting final CDC confirmation.

    .

    Of the 7 in Calif, 2 were transferred to QotV – one asymptomatic received CDC confirmation of positive today; one with mild symptoms is still awaiting CDC.

    Third — More super spreader evidence of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Returning Travelers from Wuhan, China

    “In this effort to evacuate 126 people from Wuhan to Frankfurt, a symptom-based screening process was ineffective in detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection in 2 persons who later were found to have evidence of SARS-CoV-2 in a throat swab. We discovered that shedding of potentially infectious virus may occur in persons who have no fever and no signs or only minor signs of infection.”

    https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2001899

    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Big Government, China, Civil Society, Current Events, Health Care, Japan, Miscellaneous, USA | 20 Comments »

    Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate the Origins of the 2008 Financial Crisis and Systemic Failure

    Posted by Kevin Villani on February 18th, 2020 (All posts by )

    Are greedy racist “Wall Street” bank lenders responsible, or progressive politicians?

    The housing finance systems of some developed countries have failed, but only the U.S. federally dominated system failed systemically twice in two decades, the second time in 2008 with global repercussions. Then Republican Mayor of New York now 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg blamed politicians for pushing lenders to make loans to “poor people” in low income neighborhoods that they couldn’t afford. 2020 progressive Democratic presidential candidate Warren, apparently reflecting the views of the Party, responded to Bloomberg: “That crisis would not have been averted if the banks had been able to be bigger racists.” 

    The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passed in 2010 creating Warren’s proposed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to Monitor and Mitigate Systemic Risk made up of the various financial regulators reflects the Warren/Democratic narrative. This narrative is the foundation of not just housing and financial sector policy proposals, but the entire progressive agenda.

    I’m from the federal government and I’m here to help you.

    That’s the punch line to the joke about the three biggest lies Pres Martin used to tell about a half century ago as past Chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB) (hence Freddie Mac’s first Chairman) and Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve System.

    The first wave of “help” came after the repeated waves of bank failures with the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913. The second wave came during the Great Depression with deposit insurance and associated regulation of the banking and savings and loan industries. This was followed by the creation of FHA mortgage insurance: to stimulate FHA demand, Fannie Mae was created make a market for which there were few buyers or sellers. By the late 60’s, rather than end a failed experiment Fannie Mae was “privatized” and the public monopoly was subsequently expanded to a tri-poly with the addition of Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae, all funding fixed rate mortgages (FRMs) first introduced by FHA. As Milton Friedman famously said, “there is nothing so permanent as a temporary government program.”

    It didn’t help potential borrowers much. The resulting federally dominated U.S. Housing Finance System had been touted as the best in the world, a model to emulate for developed, developing and transitioning economies alike during the three decades prior to the 2004-2007 sub-prime mortgage lending debacle and globally systemic financial crisis of 2008. But the benefits are hard to identify: the U.S. homeownership rate is about the same as in the mid 1960’s under the prior savings and loan system in spite of a 50% increase in female labor force participation, a historically low real interest rate and a dramatic shift from detached single family to condo apartments.

    Civil rights legislation culminating in the Fair Housing Act of 1968 made racial discrimination in home sales a federal crime. The black homeownership rate which rose more than that for whites during the 2004-2007 sub-prime lending spree has returned to about where it was during the 1960’s.

    Market Discipline versus Public Regulation

    It didn’t help existing lenders much either. In the 1970’s federally sponsored agencies competed directly with federally chartered savings and loans whose investments were limited by regulators hamstrung by politicians to FRMs, forcing them to borrow short and lend long with callable insured deposits. Systemic failure was assured when interest rates rose as they did in the late 1970’s, with failures strung out over the 1980’s as regulators seized but often didn’t close zombie institutions, often run by academics.

    Systemic risk, the simultaneous failure of many or all firms (and households) in an industry or across industries, primarily afflicts mixed progressive financial systems, i.e., those with privately owned but publicly regulated financial institutions. Firms in an un-or-less regulated market economy may be fragile but “Wall Street” traders mitigate systemic risk by betting against weak firms and industries, either forcing corrective action or failure– hence the derogatory political reference to “speculators.” At the other extreme, state owned financial firms generally fail financially but face only a political bankruptcy constraint.

    Two types of progressive policies created systemic risk. First those intended to mitigate the failure of individual firms with public insurance and prudential regulation, making failure less frequent but more systemic. Regulators prevent commercial bank failures purportedly to protect public confidence in the payments mechanism. Second are those policies intended to universally favor borrowers and/or creditors – like requiring mortgages to have a fixed rate – making systemic failure more likely and more costly.

    Underwriting Mortgage Credit Risk: Discrimination and “Disparate Impact”

    With the exception of the Great Depression and 2008 financial crisis, home mortgage credit losses had been “Gaussian (normally distributed),” that is, they followed a predictable pattern that allowed them to be insured according to the law of large numbers, for all practical purposes eliminating uncertainty, hence risk.

    Loan data during the sub-prime lending debacle unambiguously supports Bloomberg as minority lending skyrocketed. Progressives imputed racist motives to excessive minority lending, arguing that “predatory” lenders “tricked” minorities into accepting loans they couldn’t afford so they could later foreclose. There is some truth to the first part, as banks solicited minority borrowers with loans they had to know were risky. But they had little incentive to foreclose, as that always resulted in a deep loss. What did motivate lenders?

    Homeownership was no more affordable for black households during the 2004-2007 sub-prime lending bubble than it was in the 1960’s for a variety of reasons. But current Democratic presidential candidate Deval Patrick argued in 1994 as Deputy Attorney General of the Department of Justice that any final lending distribution that contained racial disparities—disparate impact—relative to population was a violation of federal law unless the lender could prove otherwise. Such “proof” of non-discrimination would be difficult to produce at best, since the disparity itself was considered proof of racial prejudice, and the cost of a legal defense is generally crippling. This was called “confiscation by consent decree” at the time and later “extortion by consent decree” for which Gaussian credit risk models didn’t apply.

    Avoiding Black Swans

    Former trader –now internationally recognized risk expert – Nicholas Nassim Taleb describes in his 2007 book The Black Swan “how high impact but rare events dominate history, how we retrospectively give ourselves the illusion of understanding them thanks to narratives, how they are impossible to estimate scientifically, how this makes some areas – but not others – totally unpredictable and unforecastable, how confirmatory methods of knowledge don’t work, and how thanks to Black Swan-blind “faux experts” we are prone to building systems increasingly fragile to extreme events.”

    Was the 2008 systemic failure an unpredictable Black Swan event? Politicians and their regulators who push the “Wall Street greed” narrative argued that nobody could have foreseen it, but Taleb exempts only economist Nouriel Roubini Crisis Economics (2010) from that delusion, who (pg. 16) concludes “it was probable. It was even predictable…” based on the failure of prudential regulation. But how did that fail? Systemic failure had long been predicted (by me and others, including the Federal Reserve) based on the progressive policies that attributed illegal racial discrimination motives to traditional income and appraisal underwriting.

    No Skin in the Game

    The sub-prime lending bubble of 1995 through 1998 financed with opaque securities issued by independent finance companies that following SEC rules reported phantom profits burst with no systemic consequences. By 2000 many of these former sub-prime lenders and securitization practices had migrated to the federally insured commercial banks in part to finance Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) lending commitments. These increased 500 fold after the deregulation of interstate Banking in 1994 when discretionary regulatory permission for M&A activity was held hostage to a favorable public CRA Report. Pushed by regulators and pulled by the big potential M&A payoff, borrower down payment requirements were virtually eliminated and bank “regulatory arbitrage” minimized capital requirements, virtually eliminating any Skin in the Game (Taleb, 2018). This asymmetric “trade” was irresistible.

    The Perfect Storm

    The Big Short by Michael Lewis presents the progressive narrative of “greedy” speculators who were shorting the housing market but doesn’t explain why they failed to prevent the bubble from inflating to systemic proportions by bankrupting lenders. The reason is that the cheap Federal Reserve credit continued to be channeled to the housing bubble by Fannie and Freddie. Historically conservative, they were now led by politically anointed CEO’s who, facing no bankruptcy constraint, willingly followed the path to perdition. This path was paved by HUD’s “Mission Regulator” who not only ratcheted up the lending goals well beyond prudent limits but in 2005 imposed a new goal that they maintain a 50% market share with these private lenders. Propped up by the federal government, all the big players were going for broke simultaneously.

    This was guaranteed to fail. Financial institutions reported several trillion dollars (pgs. 157-158) of home mortgage credit losses after the bubble burst and 10 million homeowners lost their homes over the next six years in spite of massive government efforts to avoid or delay foreclosure. Like the lending bubble, the foreclosure bubble was much bigger for minorities. Yet The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Democrat Majority Report (2010) spun the narrative that the systemic “risk” was due mainly to traditional liquidity concerns.

    I’m from the federal government and I’m here to blame you.

    That’s no joke. During the Obama Administration Patrick, then Governor of Massachusetts led the multi-state suit against lenders alleging discrimination in foreclosures based on disparate impact. At the same time, current DNC Chairman Tom Perez was pursuing “disparate impact” cases against lenders under the Fair Housing Act as Attorney General Eric Holder’s Deputy.

    In a 2009 Financial Times editorial Taleb proposed ten principles to avoid a repeat of 2008:

    What is fragile should break early, while it’s still small.

    No socialization of losses and privatization of gains.

    People who were driving a school bus blindfolded (and crashed it) should never be given a new bus.

    Don’t let somebody making an incentive bonus manage a nuclear plant – or your financial risks.

    Compensate complexity with simplicity.

    Do not give children dynamite sticks, even if they come with a warning label.

    Only Ponzi schemes should depend on confidence. Governments should never need to “restore confidence.”

    Do not give an addict more drugs if he has withdrawal pains.

    Citizens should not depend on financial assets as a repository of value, and should not rely on fallible “expert” advice for their retirement.

    Make an omelet with the broken eggs.

    All good advice, all ignored by politicians and regulators who created the Rube Goldberg dystopia they rail against.

    —-

    Kevin Villani

    Kevin Villani was Chief Economist at Freddie Mac from 1982 to 1985 and HUD from 1979-1982. He has been affiliated with nine universities, and served as CFO and director of several companies. He recently published Occupy Pennsylvania Avenue on the political origins of the sub-prime lending bubble and aftermath.

     

    Posted in Big Government, Book Notes, Economics & Finance, Public Finance | 11 Comments »

    COVID-19 From a Business Perspective

    Posted by Dan from Madison on February 18th, 2020 (All posts by )

    I live in the world of HVAC distribution, which is basically a subset of industrial distribution. The information flow concerning COVID-19 is interesting. There are some of my vendors who are in full freak out mode, as they are already getting short on items imported from China. Some of these items are part of a larger item being put together either in Mexico or here in the States. Other items are things that my vendors simply repackage and resell. I have also heard a rumor that certain chemicals and finished copper products are going to have issues in the near future. There are some vendors that are just “shoulder shrugging” the whole thing off at this point. The reactions are all over the board from my vendors.

    I imagine that we will know a lot more when the Spring AC calls start coming as most vendors typically have a 30-60 day safety supply stateside.

    This could end up quite profitable for other regions of the world vs. China, and it may be business that China will never get back. Time will tell.

     

    Posted in Business, China | 4 Comments »

    COVID-19 Update 2-17-2020

    Posted by Trent Telenko on February 17th, 2020 (All posts by )

    As of this morning’s time hack, world wide there are now 1,770 dead and 71,223 infected by COVID-19. Community spread is underway in Singapore (see chart), Taiwan and Japan. The USA thinks it might be on-going in the USA. Both Japan and the USA refuse to state this, but actions being taken argue otherwise.  Two horrid COVID-19 infection reports from Chinese news sources — the Taiwan News is reporting re-infection with COVID-19 is causing heart failure and South China Morning Post is reporting 34 and 94 day from exposure to infection super spreaders.  Recovered from COVID-19 infection Ontario couple are still testing positive for coronavirus. Finally,  COVID-19 fomit** contamination of Chinese money and survival of corona-virus in high heat & humidity are also in the update.

    31 Dec 2019 to 16 Feb 2020 COVID-19 Bar chart

    31 Dec 2019 to 16 Feb 2020 COVID-19 Infection Level Bar Chart

    Number of COVID-19 Infections outside China as of Feb 16, 2020

    Number of COVID-19 Infections outside China as of Feb 16, 2020

    Singapore COVID-19 Infection Status 15 Feb 2020

    Singapore COVID-19 Infection Status 15 Feb 2020

    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Big Government, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Culture, Current Events, Health Care, Human Behavior, International Affairs, Miscellaneous, National Security, Politics, USA | 23 Comments »

    Conspiracies

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on February 14th, 2020 (All posts by )

    Like many types of paranoid thinking, conspiracy theorists fasten on unimportant details and regard them as key. The tax protestors get caught up in your name being in all-caps for Social Security, which means that it’s not you but some artificial entity. Their proof that the income tax is illegal hinges on a delivery of a document to the State of Ohio that did not happen in the right way, even though everyone in Ohio knew about it. There is the nod and the knowing look that they can’t be fooled. The real truth isn’t known to all those other people, who are blithely going about their business thinking everything is just fine, and completely on the up-and-up.

    The belief that the real answer is hidden, being kept from the masses by nefarious actors precedes the actual explanations. They don’t come to believe that doctors are hiding cures because they are presented with plausible evidence of same, but because they don’t trust doctors, or perhaps anyone in authority, and someone tacks a specific example onto that. All-caps often figure prominently in their explanations, trying to impress upon you the importance of this particular set of details that they are now pointing out to you. So that you’ll KNOW. Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 17 Comments »

    COVID-19 Update Morning 2-14-2020

    Posted by Trent Telenko on February 14th, 2020 (All posts by )

    There are currently 65,213 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, including 1,486 fatalities. Of which 4,823 new cases and 116 new deaths were reported in Hubei province, China.
    .
    There are several trends in this update, as well as the headline summary. First Community spreading of COVID-19 is now established in Hong Kong (attached graphic), Japan and Singapore.
    COVID-19 in Hong Kong

    COVID-19 in Hong Kong

    .
    Second, the shut down of China as an economic power seems near complete. See the JP Morgan coal for electricity usage and the Goldman Sachs economic projection charts attached to this post. The JP Morgan chart shows that while traditionally daily coal consumption – the primary commodity used to keep China electrified – rebounds in the days following the Lunar New Year collapse when China hibernates for one week. This is not the case this now. There hasn’t been even a modest increase, indicating that so far there hasn’t been a return to work.
    .
    2020 Chinese Coal/Electrical Consumption

    2020 Chinese Coal/Electrical Consumption

    .
    Short Form — Lack of Chinese coal use/electric power generation indicates the scale of Chinese industries that are shut down…AKA near total.
    .
    And the “Just-In-Time/Sole-Source in China” world-wide, Multi-national corporation, economic shut down virus is gathering a huge economic momentum. Nissan has shut down auto production in addition to South Korea’s Hyundai for lack of Chinese parts. Rumor has it that Ford has the same issue — as their heater coils in their autos are sole sourced in China — and will soon shut down auto production.  Anything cheap or disposable in the world economy is sourced in China, and the Chinese economy is now off-line for the foreseeable future.
    Near Term Economic Projections for China

    Near Term Economic Projections for China

    .
    Third, China is again playing games with COVID-19 numbers and particularly the announced deaths to keep the death rate at 2.1%, saying deaths were “double counted”?!? (See JP Morgan graphic).
    .
    Dodgy Chinese COVID-19 Infection Numbers

    Dodgy Chinese COVID-19 Infection Numbers

    .
     This has been ‘officially noticed’ by the White House.
    .
    See:
    White House does not have ‘high confidence’ in China’s coronavirus information, official says
    .
    .
    Fourth, American COVID-19 are now officially 15 with a case in San Antonio, Texas from a Wuhan evacuation flight and no deaths. I say “officially” as there possible COVID-19 death in Boise, ID. See:
    .
    .
    The possible COVID-19 victim was a 71-year-old man found dead on Feb 9 in an advanced state of decomposition. He returned from China Feb 5. The initial testing came up negative, but additional tests are being run. The cause of death has not been released.
    .
    An idea of what “Community spreading” in Singapore means can be seen in the following report:
    .
    “Singapore Casino employee confirmed with COVID-19; symptomatic Feb 5, hospitalized Feb 9
    On February 13, 2020, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) pointed out that the confirmed case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Singapore announced on February 11 is an employee at the casino in Resorts World Sentosa Casino. The employee developed symptoms on February 5 and was hospitalized in isolation on February 9. Travelers who visited the casino during the communicable period (February 4-9) are advised to call 1922, put on a face mask and seek immediate medical attention as instructed if suspected symptoms develop within 2 weeks. Moreover, such travelers should inform the physician of any relevant travel history when seeking medical attention.”
    .

    .

    World Headline Summary:
    .
    o China says 1,716 medical workers have been infected
    o Singapore reports largest daily jump in cases amid increased human-to-human transmission
    o Hong Kong reports 3 new cases
    o Hubei’s new party boss orders quarantine tightened
    o President Xi touts new “biosecurity law”
    o Hong Kong Disney land offers space for quarantine
    o Chinese company says blood plasma of recovered patients useful in combating the virus
    o US mulling new travel restrictions

    -end-

     

    Posted in China, Civil Society, Current Events, Economics & Finance, Energy & Power Generation, Health Care, Medicine, Politics, Urban Issues, USA | 59 Comments »

    Meme Wars

    Posted by David Foster on February 13th, 2020 (All posts by )

    Michael Bloomberg is apparently spending a bunch of money on the development and deployment of memes.

    A meme could, potentially, neatly encapsulate and summarize a real, meaningful argument.  Or it could have the appearance of offering a conclusive argument when no such argument has actually been made.  Or it could be so ridiculous that it has no effect–or an opposite effect from that intended–on its target audience.

    William “Boss” Tweed was very upset by the cartoon of Thomas Nast, because, as he famously said:  “I don’t care a straw for your newspaper articles; my constituents don’t know how to read, but they can’t help seeing them damned pictures.”  Perhaps in our own era, there are plenty of people who do know how to read–who may well be college graduates–but whose attention spans are so limited, and who have so little exposure to logical discussion, that memes are the most effective way to reach them.

    Discussion question:  What memes have you seen that (a) effectively make a valid argument, (b) look like they are making an effective argument, but are actually doing no such thing, or (c) are so silly that they could convince basically nobody at all?

     

    Posted in Advertising, Elections, Media, USA | 27 Comments »

    The Goad

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on February 13th, 2020 (All posts by )

    “…Wake again, Bagheera. For what use was this thorn-pointed thing made?”
    Bagheera half opened his eyes—he was very sleepy—with a malicious twinkle. “It was made by men to thrust into the head of the sons of Hathi, so that the blood should pour out. I have seen the like in the street of Oodeypore, before our cages. That thing has tasted the blood of many such as Hathi.”
    “But why do they thrust into the heads of elephants?”
    “To teach them Man’s Law. Having neither claws nor teeth, men make these things—and worse.” – From The Kings’ Ankus by Rudyard Kipling

    The jeweled elephant goad, the ‘ankus’ of Kipling’s story – was indeed a thing made by men, intended to control elephants; a thing used to threaten and inflict pain, to make the elephant do what the man wielding the ankus do what was commanded. I have begun to think of late that the threat of being called a racist is much the same kind of instrument. It’s a means of control, wielded to enforce silence and obedience. Consider the various local police in English towns and cities, who were so bludgeoned by the threat of being viewed as racists that they turned a blind eye, over and over, and over again, to deliberate and organized grooming and sexual exploitation of white English girls by Pakistani gangsters. Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Arts & Letters, Civil Society, Culture, Deep Thoughts, Human Behavior | 4 Comments »

    It was about Flynn all along.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on February 13th, 2020 (All posts by )

    Last summer, I posted a column suggesting the Russia Hoax was aimed at Flynn.

    I am more and more coming around to the opinion of David Goldman and Michael Ledeen.

    The Russia hoax was aimed at Michael Flynn and his role as a Trump advisor.

    It was all about General Flynn. I think it began on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, when Flynn changed the way we did intelligence against the likes of Zarqawi, bin Laden, the Taliban, and their allies.

    General Flynn saw that our battlefield intelligence was too slow. We collected information from the Middle East and sent it back to Washington, where men with stars on their shoulders and others at the civilian intel agencies chewed it over, decided what to do, and sent instructions back to the war zone. By the time all that happened, the battlefield had changed. Flynn short-circuited this cumbersome bureaucratic procedure and moved the whole enterprise to the war itself. The new methods were light years faster. Intel went to local analysts, new actions were ordered from men on the battlefield (Flynn famously didn’t care about rank or status) and the war shifted in our favor.

    Now, there is more support for the idea that Flynn was the original target.

    It is, however, on a different theory and by Angelo Codevilla.

    Senior intelligence officials were the key element in the war on Donald Trump’s candidacy and presidency. CIA used meetings that it manufactured as factual bases for lies about campaign advisors seeking Russian information to smear Hillary Clinton. Intelligence began formal investigation and surveillance without probable cause. Agents gained authorization to electronically surveil Trump and his campaign and defended their bureaucratic interests, sidelining Lieutenant General Michael Flynn and denying or delaying Trump appointments and security clearances.

    They feared that Flynn was going to convince Trump that the CIA was a rogue agency and should be dismantled.

    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Big Government, Civil Liberties, Politics | 4 Comments »

    Strange Bedfellows?

    Posted by David Foster on February 11th, 2020 (All posts by )

    There seems to be a very large overlap between the political and social opinions of academics–a group which is very highly-educated, at least if we measure by time spent in the classroom–and the opinions of entertainers/celebrities–not typically distinguished in their educational level by that same metric, to put it mildly.  (Although with individual exceptions, of course)

    Why?

     

    Posted in Academia, Leftism, Media, Politics | 15 Comments »

    Different Perspective

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on February 11th, 2020 (All posts by )

    Update: There may already be a challenge to some of this at my own site. So feel free.

    Modern historians like looking at things from different angles.  Though this has been increasingly enforced along woke lines in the past generation, it is still a useful way to study.  Previous histories were about who ruled and who won battles. While these things have enormous top-down effects on everyone else at the time, and often have long-term effects, sometimes they turn out to be incidental, while other perspectives tell us more.  Religious and economic historians have long identified far-reaching effects that were more durable than whether a Henry or an Edward was on the throne in a particular decade.  The study of rulers lends itself to the making of lists, which are nice memorisable items for students. Subregional studies of dukes and barons are the same thing on a smaller scale.

    Military historians fell partly into the same ditches, though they were more likely to introduce changes in technology in weaponry and defense, which also informed our understanding of civilian technological changes. But it is only recently that historians have looked at social history in general. This has been driven by mostly female historians asking “What was life like for the women in this time and place?” and “What changes and continuities do we see over longer time-scales in that?” Studying marriage patterns, and whether women could own property, and whether they earned cash money are not things that changed overnight, as conquest or rebellion changed societies, but following those records tells us what we might otherwise miss, and provides explanations for puzzles. It also gives us a fuller picture of what life was like for everyone. When they ate, when they starved, whether mothers had any say in children’s marriages, who provided music – we know much more about such things now. I think it is all to the good, and male historians have been largely won over to the new perspective.
    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 5 Comments »

    How to Think About 2019-nCov

    Posted by Jay Manifold on February 8th, 2020 (All posts by )

    In the wake of Ebola, NVD-68, and Zika, we should have all learned our lesson by now. We haven’t. This is 2020—Iowans took a week to count the votes of 5% of their population, and an elderly white Northeastern president is principally opposed by a gaggle of downright ancient white Northeasterners. There aren’t any quick fixes for emergent idiocies like those, but a few simple heuristics will go a long way toward avoiding panic over coronavirus.

    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Aviation, Business, China, Current Events, Health Care, International Affairs, Markets and Trading, Predictions, Society, Transportation, USA | 45 Comments »

    New Bloomberg Ad Buy in Wisconsin

    Posted by Dan from Madison on February 7th, 2020 (All posts by )

    As reported here a month or so ago, we are getting absolutely deluged with Bloomberg ads (and not a one from any other candidate) here in Wisconsin. There has been a slight tack in course however, as Bloomberg is now bringing Obama into the picture. Here is the ad they are currently running here behind the cheddar curtain:
    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Obama, Politics | 17 Comments »

    Posted by Jonathan on February 6th, 2020 (All posts by )

    smile

     

    Posted in Photos | 3 Comments »

    The Roaring Twenties, Revisited

    Posted by David Foster on February 6th, 2020 (All posts by )

    Here’s a piece that mentions some of the technological, social, and economic trends that were important in the 1920s, and goes on to discuss seven tipping points that the author thinks will be key in the 2020s.

     

    Posted in Economics & Finance, Energy & Power Generation, History, Society, Tech, USA | 13 Comments »